A day in the life …..

So I survived Covid. In terms of how Covid goes, it was a mild case, not a pleasant experience, but it could have been so much worse. I am grateful. About 12 days of feeling crappy. I still don’t have my taste or smell back and I get tired. It is annoying! Now we just wait and see what type of long term residual effects there might be. There are so many variables to this virus.

The presidential inauguration is tomorrow. Not who I voted for. I believe both candidates had a lot to be desired. I had to vote on policy not personality. What was best for our business and my family. I just hate all the hate that is going around this country right now. I don’t understand the far left and the far right – they are just crazy people. I do believe in parts of both parties platforms. But some of the things have just gone too far!!!! I just like to stay in my own little bubble – it makes me so anxious to think about it all. But I do pray nightly that this country is restored to sanity …. no matter who the president is.

I am getting back to meetings and the fellowship. I did not like zooming while I was sick. I need to be in the rooms for my recovery. I miss so many of my friends who are not coming out because of Covid and health issues. I can be hopeful that this new vaccine will help and I hope soon things will get back to our “normal”.

Not much is happening these days …. just a day in the life!

January 1, 2021

Goodbye 2020 – what a crazy, difficult, unprecedented year you were. So many things we take for granted in life have had to change because of happenings of 2020. We have been forced to embrace the suck of this past year.

So far 2021 is starting out with some difficulty. I am sick – yuck. I had the COVID test this morning so it will be a couple of days before I know for sure if I have it. The symptoms of the last day are pointing to me having it. Head cold, aches, cough … and the tell tale sign of the loss of taste among other things. I am hoping I did not pass the virus on if I have it since I was out and about thinking I had a sinus infection for a couple days before the real symptoms hit. So needless to say I am now in quarantine.

So because of this I have had to miss all the NYE and Day meetings at the club, just like I had to miss all the Christmas meetings. I can’t help with the clean up of putting decorations away. I have been in contact with my “team” and it will all be taken care of. It is humbling to realize the world can the club can function just fine without me. I have to once again let go of that control.

So what do I want to do in this brand new year ….. a brand new chapter in the book of life. I definitely need to get healthy and get back to an exercise program. Since I quite last year with my depression and then covid – well, I have been a slug! I also want to take the writing more seriously even if it is just for me or a memoir for the family. I want to get back into the big book of AA and up my program. I feel I have been somewhat complacent as of late. I overall want to be a good person with gratitude, humility and hope. Those I think are my goals for 2021 …. I won’t call them New Year’s Resolutions, but I guess they kinda are.

Even with the “New Normal” of 2020 I have found much gratitude in the small stuff. So many things looked different last year than what we expected especially with Kirsten’s graduation from college, and all the virtual meetings and gatherings. But with pain and difficulty comes growth … I truly believe that. We have learned to deal with things we thought we would never have to deal with.

Life happens and we just have to accept it as it comes …. So here is to 2021 and all the adventures that await us. Now hopefully I don’t start out the year getting really sick with this stupid covid.

Christmas 2020 Style

It has been a different sort of Christmas season. No large family gathering this holiday. I am spending the day with my family: husband, daughters and Allie’s boyfriend …. and the pups. Playing games, watching movies and doing family zoom calls. We will eat our traditional Italian dinner tonight with all the family, but separately in our own homes.

It is a low stress Christmas which is kind of nice.

One of my brothers is just getting over covid – his family seems to be ok, but they have not been tested. Allie and Pat were exposed by his sister on Sunday. They tested negative with the rapid test, but are waiting results from the regular covid test. So we just stay home and wait. I am sure they will be fine, but we want to be safe and not pass it on.

I am staying away from the AA club which is hard since I plan the Christmas (alcathon) meetings. But I am sure they can run fine without me. It is just a control thing.

We need to go make gift drop offs the the brothers and families. Not sure when we will get the gifts over to Steve’s mom. She has a lot of health issues and doesn’t really want to see anyone, but from a distance …. and it is too cold outside.

Despite the issues 2020 has brought to us all, I still have gratitude …. a lot of gratitude. I have everything I need and my loving family is healthy. There have been challenges to overcome, but that doesn’t diminish my blessings.

2020 has definitely not been the year we all expected it to be when it started back in January, but we are surviving …. together!

Miracles

52,624 hours, 2,193 days, 72.03 months …… 6 Years!

By the grace of my God and the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous I have 6 years of continuous sobriety today. I am grateful I did not quit before the miracle happened, because yes …. it is a miracle.

I started this journey in a treatment center in 2007. For years I felt I was defined by all my relapses and inability to stay sober. That is one reason each additional year is a miracle ….. each day is a miracle.

It took a long time for the drink and pill obsession to leave me. I spent a lot of time white knuckling this sobriety thing. I believe all the difficulties and relapses taught me what I needed to know to become the person I am grateful to be today. Is life perfect? Definitely not! I do know today how to handle the things that used to baffle me. I have tools to help me navigate this life and all its challenges.

2020 has been a particularly challenging year with Covid, quarantine, all the political crap and social unrest along with my personal anxieties and issues. AA meetings are different. The world is different. My tribe in the AA fellowship have remained tried and true. I may not get to see them as often or give hugs, but there is still something special and unwavering about the fellowship.

I am happy and blessed regardless of the adversity and difficulties of this year.

December 2nd is just another sober day. It may be 6 years today, but it is just one day at a time …. 24 hours at a time.

House on the Market

Yes our house officially for sale. It is a crazy time for the housing market. It has been very stressful getting everything cleaned up and ready pre market and now we have to keep it that, which is not always easy. God love our relators who have helped us clean up in a pinch.

Our house was listed Wednesday night for Thursday showings. On Thursday we had 9 showings, on Friday: 8. Saturday only 1 and Sunday 3. We have a pending offer and waiting for a couple more that are supposed to be coming later today (Sunday). We are still showing until we have a concrete offer.

The pain is having to take our old overweight dog and our hyper puppy who gets car sick out of the house for hours on end. We have hung out with my Mom and Tom for a few hours on Thursday and Friday. Went to a friends house with a fenced in backyard, took a trip to the dog park, went on a hike and even hung out with the dogs at the AA club after a meeting while decorating for fall. The poor dogs are so confused.

So when this house sells we will be moving into a condo for 18-24 months while waiting to build. We are going from 5500 to 1700 square feet and 1.5 acres to nothing. It is going to be a big adjustment for everyone including Ollie Pup. There should be lots to write about as we all adjust.

My anxiety has been very high during this process. I have needed a little boost in my anxiety meds. I do still have that 1 Valium hanging out in my purse. But that is a controlled substance and to even take that 1 pill would be a relapse. Not really sure why I am still hanging on to it, sometimes I even forget about it.

It has been an interesting process and I am looking forward to getting an offer so we can move on to the next phase ….. packing it all up. My current closet is 12 X 14 and we will be moving into something way smaller. What will I leave behind? My current closet is almost the same size as the condo master bedroom. Yes, it will be big adjustment!

Letting Go

Like I said in my last post, I was to give my lead (my addiction journey) at my Sunday AA meeting.   Well ….. I am proud to say I did it!

I was surprisingly calm.   I am usually a basket case before a lead.   I didn’t have the time to worry about it with only 1 days notice.  I usually would have not accepted a last minute offer or I would have spent the 4th of July at home practicing and writing instead of enjoying the holiday.  I was not a bit nervous and had no anxiety.   Very strange for someone like me who is an anxious person to begin with.    

In the past, I would practice practice practice, make notes and write down word for word what I wanted to say.   This time I decided it was time to let go of the control and give it over to God.     Just letting go of the outcome had a peaceful affect on me.   I like to be in control.   Letting it go is not my usual way.

I have been doing much better of giving over control of other things as well.   There is an upcoming picnic for our club, planned by my social committee.   I have given over control and am letting others help.   Things may not match perfectly,   the cake not be decorated as I would have chosen and I am letting folks bring whatever they choose.   I like things to be a certain way when I am planning something.    Life as we know it will not end if things aren’t perfect, in fact I will probably be the only one to notice.

Back to my story or as we call call it my lead ….. it came off well.   People in the rooms laughed with me when appropriate, they listened with open ears and the comments afterwords were encouraging.    I talked for approximately 40 minutes with no notes, no practice and no idea of what I was going to say.  I let God have control over my words and it worked.   It took away the fear and anxiety and I just spoke from my heart.  When it was over, I was not sure exactly what I said, but all the feedback was quite positive and it felt good.   I felt relieved that I could get out of my comfort zone and do this.     Who knows now what I will be able to do next.

It has taken me years to loosen the reigns of control especially in giving a lead.   I have given several during my 13 years in the program, but not once I have let go until this last time.   I know I am finally making progress, I am learning more about myself and I am trusting the process.    All good stuff.

So instead of just saying the words; Let Go and Let Go, I have to practice what I preach!

My Dad

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I will always remember May 28, 2010 …. The day my precious Daddy died.  He died suddenly with no waning of a blood clot to his heart.   This year, 2020 it has been 10 years since that day and I remember most of it as if it were yesterday.

I remember the middle of the night phone call ( 1:30 AM) from my Mom, arriving at the same time as my one brother, the hospital emergency room, the announcement call of time of death, calling to tell my husband that my Dad was dead and then Steve showing up with the girls who were 15 and 12 at the time and then calling a few close friends.  We gathered as a family around my Dad and said the Our Father.   To this day, 10 years later I can not say the Our Father with closed eyes without seeing my Dad in the ER and tearing up a little.

Growing up, my Dad and I were very much a like with our Italian tempers and often butted heads.  When I went away to college is when our closer relationship started.  My Dad was my biggest cheerleader and his support was always unwavering.    My family, Dad, Mom, 2 brothers and I all worked in the family pizza business.   I remember being in the office that Thursday before he died and the ordinary conversation we had before I left for home. I had no idea that would be the last conversation I would have with my alive Dad.

My Dad taught us well.   He was a family man, with a great belief in our Lord and Savior.  I know he is with his God in heaven and that gives me some comfort.  My Dad had done succession planning for the business with my brothers ( I chose not to be an equal owner operator – I wanted to be a mom to my children, not a business owner). Our company was like family and his death really had an effect all the employees and the community as a whole.   My brothers and our office staff did not miss a beat in keeping things going for our pizza chain and dough business.  My Dad did well.

I took my Mom home and stayed with her through the morning.    My brothers cleaned up the bedroom before we got there.   Neither of us slept much.   The TV drowned out our emotions.   Stupid TV informercials in the middle of the night early morning.

I don’t know how I became the strong one in the family during this time.    I planned and organized most of the funeral with some help from the family.   I was numb and just going through the motions.  It took me a long time to actually get to the grieving part.

I can not begin to say how many people were at his visitation.   The line was hours long for the duration.  I remember certain friends being there.  The support I had from my AA friends was incredible.  I probably would not have gotten through that time with out that support.   The actual funeral was beautiful with a packed church.  My Mom wrote a little something that the priest read and I remember his 4 grand daughters taking up the gifts for communion.  It was a special moment.   My Dad was liked by everyone.   The celebration of life afterwords held in a reception hall was full of wonderful stories and memories of my Dad.

I wish my Dad could see the successes of his children and grandchildren and our business.  He never got to meet my brother’s wife, Carey or little Caroline.   But I know he sees them.

They say over time memories fade and people forget.    I know many will never forget my Dad, He made an impact on many in our community especially his dear family and friends.

Our family is gathering on Sunday for a day of celebration of his life and to share our memories and grief.   I feel sad today missing my Dad.   I also feel grateful to have been born to such great and loving parents.    Life is for the living, but we can still cherish and miss those who are no longer with us.     So many memories ….. I will never forget my wonderful Daddy ❤️ .

The Overdose

Some people can drink alcohol and others can not.    Those who have crossed that invisible line will never be able to drink like a normal person.   We have an allergy.   A disease of the mind, body and soul.    The obsession that only an addict / alcoholic knows.  We were once spiritually empty and now we are full.   Recovery is a beautiful thing.

I have a dear friend in my 12 step program who lost his son this week to an overdose.  He lost his daughter 10 years ago to a motorcycle accident.    Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair.  Why do some of us make it to recovery while others do not?  There are so many people out in the world who do not know how great a sober and clean life can be.

My friend is not the first one I know to loose a child in this program.   A few I know have lost children to this disease and another to murder.   Brothers, Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Friends have all been lost,.  Despite these heartbreaks losing a child has to be the toughest (though I can not be the judge of that).    Amazingly, these friends of mine have been able to remain sober and lean on the fellowship, their higher power and the 12 steps to see them through.    I have the upmost respect and awe for those who can remain sober and steady in the face of tragedy.     I don’t know if I would have as much grace, I can only pray that I would.

We feel the pain of the death of another addict / alcoholic.    We know the struggle, the pull, the obsession.   We think of ourselves and but for the grace of God it could have been us, it could have been me.

We went over Step one and powerlessness at the meeting today.    The deceased young mans best family friend was there (along with my friend, the Dad)   She realizes now how close death can actually be if she does not get clean.  It was heart wrenching.    We or I must never forget how close death actually was and can be if I choose to go back to pills and alcohol.    We, the alcoholic / addict are powerless over  people, places and things.   We must change everything in order to survive.

I am at a place in my life where I can be around alcohol and people who drink moderately.   When friends and family get drunk and silly and stupid, well that is where my tolerance ends.   I know for me what I can and can not handle with others and the drinking …. its all about the people, place and things.   Some we can handle others we can not.

For my friend, I am really sad.   His son had been to meetings at out club.   My friend tried tirelessly to save his son from those demons.  In the end though he had to save himself …. both my friend and his son.

Meeting Time

I have been feeling a little isolated from my tribe during this time of quarantine.   I had been doing zoom AA meetings and some meet ups with friends.   It is not the same in any way shape or form.   I have been missing the personal interaction, the hugs and the fellowship that takes place before and after meetings.

With that being said, I had been getting complacent with my meetings.   Zoom was just not getting it done for me and I have been getting irritated with the technical difficulties and with everyone looking to me to get them fixed.   I was getting nothing out of these meetings … I just could not pay enough attention, so I quit logging on.   We all know that no meetings is not the correct answer.  I was getting very irritable and just feeling out of sorts being “off schedule”.     I think a lot of the state and country is getting sick and tired of the isolation.   We want to stay safe and healthy, but we also want to get back to life outside of our homes.

So I made the bold decision to go to a meeting in person.   I have mentioned before that our club is still open for meetings.   I had not been to an in person meeting in over a month.  It felt good just walking into the room.   The chairs are socially distanced, we don’t hug one another or hold hands during the Lord’s Pray.   But still … some people just got too close. No one wore a mask (including me).   I loved being in a meeting, but at the same time did not feel totally comfortable with it.    I think the media and everything has everyone so scared of contacting the coronavirus we just can’t relax while we are out, I know I couldn’t.   It doesn’t help that I am one of those people they talk about that need to be extra careful due to the auto-immune disease.

I don’t think it is time yet for me to be at in person meetings, but I am not sure what to do now to get a meeting.   I am probably going to have to continue to suffer through those zoom meetings, it is better than nothing at all.   I also think I need to try some other zoom meetings away from the club …. ones I am not in charge of.    What I really need to do though is pay attention during the meetings and not get so easily distracted.

The million dollar question is when will all this be over?    When will we find our new normal way of life in light of this pandemic?    Everyone is getting anxious, I know I am.   I really need to reconnect with my people and I look forward to when we can do that … in person!

At Home …. Still

Well, we are going on close to a month of this stay at home order.   I have been keeping fairly busy with various tasks around the house.   I still have not really been anywhere.  Going out each morning to the little coffee shop in town to get my chai tea latte and coffee for Steve and Kirsten is usually the highlight of my day.    I have met up with a couple of friends as we sit in our cars at a distance to chat.   Face to face interaction with friends is very much needed.   I especially miss my in person sober tribe.

I have been doing the zoom AA meetings quite regularly, but it is starting to get old.  I have not been able to totally pay attention in the zoom meetings.  I have been very easily distracted in those meetings.   I desperately need to get back to the in person meetings.   Though our club is still open and operating, I am just not comfortable at this time in light of the virus and the stay at home orders.    I miss the fellowship of the meetings.   I have had drinking dreams and using thoughts and desire, by the grace of God I have not acted on those thoughts.   I do know that nothing good would come from it.   But too much idle time is not good for this addict and there is a lot of time with not much to do!

I have been trying to stay in contact with friends from the program and staying in touch with my sponsees.   I did a 3rd step with one of my girls via Facetime and I have another step meeting scheduled.  Working with others and getting out of self for bit is very helpful during this time of quarantine.   But still it is not face to face so it is a very different kind of step work.

I am trying to do some little task from home from where I volunteer.   We had a volunteer zoom meeting the the other day and it was nice to see some of the ladies I have been working with.    I have also done some virtual get togethers with my sober peeps, just to chat.    We are all trying to do the best we can to stay connected.

There are a lot of zoom meetings in the recovery community from all over the country and the world that one could join.  I have been sticking with my clubs meetings, but maybe need to try some others for something a little different.   I love how everyone in recovery is trying to help those in program stay the course.

I am still trying to find the gratitude.   I have everything I need.   We still have money coming in, we have food, we have a nice home to be isolated in and we are healthy.   I am trying to choose to find the good.   I am not going to say it is not difficult, because it is.  There is still fear, fear of getting the Covid19, the fear of the economic impact and just fear about what is happening in the world.    So many things that I can not control.

Life especially right now is so unpredictable and I have to stick with taking it one day at a time to try to keep my sanity while I am staying home.